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Keywords:

  • natural history;
  • predictive factor;
  • prostate cancer;
  • prostatectomy;
  • urinary incontinence

Objectives:  To evaluate the clinical prognosis of incontinence and to determine the predictors for further recovery of urinary continence in patients not achieving urinary continence within 1 year after radical prostatectomy.

Methods:  A total of 708 patients were evaluated regarding urinary continence status at 1 year after surgery from a prospectively maintained radical prostatectomy database. Of these, 73 (10.3%) did not recover urinary continence within 1 year after surgery. For these patients, incontinence status and the number of pads for urinary control were assessed serially.

Results:  In 708 patients, factors associated with the recovery of urinary continence within 1 year after radical prostatectomy were membranous urethral length, prostatic apex shape and patient age. Among 73 patients with urinary incontinence, 41 (56.2%) achieved urinary continence with a mean time of 15.4 months subsequent to the first year after radical prostatectomy (baseline). A younger age at surgery (P = 0.027) and one pad being required (vs≥2 pads) at baseline (P = 0.046) were identified as independent factors for achievement of urinary continence within a further 2 years. Only the number of pads was a significant factor for further recovery of urinary continence in the longer follow up (hazard ratio 0.36, P = 0.029).

Conclusion:  Compared with factors related to the prostate or membranous urethra, patient age and severity of incontinence at 1 year after radical prostatectomy are more strongly related to the recovery of urinary continence later than 1 year after surgery. These findings might help to decide whether a definite treatment is required for persistent incontinence beyond 1 year after radical prostatectomy.